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Judge dismisses application to wind up cash-strapped London Welsh

A judge has dismissed an application by the taxman to wind up London Welsh after being told the debt-ridden club had gone into liquidation.

Officials at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had asked for the club, which in the 1960s and 1970s boasted some of the biggest names in Welsh rugby among their ranks, to be wound up at hearings in the Bankruptcy & Companies Court in London.

But Registrar Nicholas Briggs on Monday dismissed the application after a lawyer representing HMRC told him the club had gone into liquidation before Christmas.

A lawyer had indicated at an earlier hearing the club owed more than £90,000 in tax.

London Welsh's website says the club was founded in a Fleet Street hotel in 1885 by a group of Welshmen living in the capital.

In the 1960s and 1970s, internationals including John Dawes, JPR Williams, Gerald Davies, John Taylor and Mervyn Davies featured in line-ups during a golden age.

The club is now in rugby's second tier, the Championship.

In early December, London Welsh chairman Gareth Hawkins said the club aimed to go into voluntary liquidation.

He said there was ''no alternative''.

''London Welsh has reached a difficult point in its illustrious history,'' said Mr Hawkins in a statement posted on the club's website.

''Due to a playing budget of £1.7million and gates at games numbering as low as 400, the club's current business model is totally unsustainable.

''The debts accrued from trading in this way have left the club with no alternative but to seek liquidation.''

Earlier this month players and staff posted a statement on the club website thanking people who had donated to a support fund.

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